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Best Family Dogs

Best Family Dogs

When you're considering adding a dog to your family, the golden retriever might come to mind, but there are a number of other breeds that can make great family pets too. Here, our Lexington vets share the best family-friendly dog breeds for you!

Picking the Best Dog Breed for Your Family

So, you want to welcome a new pup to your family. When you're trying to decide on the right breed for you, your partner, your parents or maybe your kids, it's important to look beyond the cuteness factor and consider the overall temperament of certain breeds, how independent you'd like the dog to be, and how easily trainable they are.

Take the time to research the best pooch for the space you live in as well as the energy level of your family. How much time your family members are going to be in and out of the house also comes into play; if you're all out-of-the-house busybodies, a clingy breed who desires lots of attention might not be the best for you.

To help get you off to a good start picking the best dog for family life, our vets at Bluegrass Veterinary Specialists + Animal Emergency share a few ideal breeds for families:

English Bulldog

Weighing in around 50 to 55 pounds, this breed tends to be less energetic and more of a couch potato, making it suitable for apartments and smaller homes. These people-loving pups seek out social interactions with their family and are happy to just cuddle-up on the couch to watch a movie and relax.

English bulldogs are a sweet, gentle and dependable breed that can make excellent family pets and, sometimes, intimidation factors, if you're looking for a protector of your home.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Ranging from 10 to 18 pounds, this lively but gentle breed is the perfect size for smaller homes or apartments. Cavaliers tend to get along well with kids and other dogs. They can be both playful and cuddly, making them a great choice for kids with high energy.

Boston Terrier

Typically 25 pounds or less, these people-loving furry friends come with their own easy-to-maintain "tuxedo" coats. Boston terriers are happy to play with energetic kids and go for shorter walks. They are a charming breed that adapt well to apartment living.

Irish Setter

A slightly larger breed to consider is the strikingly beautiful Irish Setter. This breed typically weighs in at around 65 pounds and can make a great family pet, as well as guard dog, if you train them that way.

These dogs are lively, intelligent and have a great sense of mischief. Irish Setters love to chase balls, go for long runs, but also enjoy playing in the backyard with children.


The Beagle is one of the best medium-sized dogs for family life at about 18 to 30 pounds. They prefer spending time with their humans, playing games, and going for walks. Beagles are smart, generally easy to train, and very loving given that they receive all of the affection and exercise they desire.

Clingy as they are, know that Beagles are not appropriate for families who are out of the house a lot. 


Your family will love these adorable little characters! Like the bulldog, pugs are happy to eat and sleep to their heart's content.

If you have children who are small or low-energy, they would appreciate a dog that will play with them indoors then curl up beside them to watch TV. Averaging 15 pounds in weight, this is a breed that doesn't need much space but isn't overly clingy either, and only requires a couple of short walks each day to be content.

The Mutt

It's important to consider that the ideal dog for your family might be waiting for you at the local animal shelter.

Mixed-breed Mutts can make loving and loyal family dogs! These dogs can be as good with children as purebred dogs. Mutts also tend to be less susceptible to genetic diseases, and less expensive. If you are considering a mutt for your family be sure to take your time to visit local animal shelters and be patient in your search for the right dog to fit in with your family life. Often shelter workers can provide you with a doggie report card that lays out all of the known personality quirks of the pooch you're interested in. 

Once you have found the best family dog for you, book an appointment with our Lexington vets for their vaccinations or a routine checkup.

Emergency Care

Bluegrass Veterinary Specialists + Animal Emergency is open 24/7 for emergencies and is accepting patients for advanced diagnostic appointments. Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Lexington companion animals. 

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